So Germany has three national holiday days in May – and last weekend my friend Katie and I took advantage of the long weekend and took a trip to Hamburg.
After almost missing the bus because the S-bahns decided to go on strike the one morning when it was absolutely necessary for me to not be late, we finally arrived to Hamburg at 11am on Thursday morning and headed to our hostel. We quickly realized how little research we had done because we failed to recognize that that weekend was the Hafen Geburtstag – the ‘birthday of the harbor’! Every year it’s the one event that draws the most visitors to the city. And we didn’t even know about it…but all is well that ends well; we quickly dropped our bags off and headed in the direction of the harbor.
Instantly, it felt that I was far away from Berlin, even though it was a mere 3 hours away by bus. The luxurious apartment buildings, the deep canals, and the arched bridges all put me in awe. I could also smell the air’s freshness and I could feel its moist. When we reached the port we walked by the numerous food stands but one thing really caught our eye and we just could not resist: gebrannte Mandeln (roasted almonds). For those of you who haven’t had a chance to try them yet – German roasted almonds will make your soul (and tummy) dance and sing of joy, trust me on this one.
With huge smiles on our faces, we headed over to the entrance of the Elbe Tunnel and descended about 15 meters down below the river. It is a famous tunnel opened in 1911 (!), and it is about one kilometer in length. Needless to say, realizing that big cruise ships are floating down the river above your head as you’re walking through the tunnel is an incredibly thrilling sensation.
Once on the other side, we found a great scenic spot to view the ship parade going down the Elbe. I probably took at least ten photos of every ship, which is the reason why I still haven’t had time to go through my pictures from this trip! In any case, it was a very impressive sight.
Hamburg felt so different from Berlin that I almost felt myself transported to Amsterdam or to some other country. So great to explore a place with such a different and unique flavor that is only three hours away from the city I’ve been calling home for the past three months.
This weekend adventure was such a treat. I love discovering how diverse Germany is – really, the best thing about this country is that it never ceases to surprise me!
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<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">Marta is a Sociology and German double major at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, but has a hard time staying within the boundaries of these two disciplines just the way she cannot stay in any one place for a long time. The thirst for knowledge and adventures is her biggest drive; over the course of her college career she has taken classes ranging from film studies to psychology, and she just spent a semester studying Arabic in Jordan. Originally from Lithuania, Marta has been fortunate enough to call many places her home. When she is not devouring books, she coordinates and leads campus tours, serves as a proctor in a first-year student dorm, works at the Admissions office as well as helping out at the Registrar’s office at Bowdoin. In her free time, she can be found either taking photographs or swing dancing. She can’t wait to check out the Berlin lindy hop scene!</span></p>